Take a very close look at the wording of regulations J - M .. ( someone should have used spell check )
Historic District Guidelines
The Historic District Commission goal is not to freeze the past by bringing everything back to a particular time period, but to blend old and new while managing change and growth, and allowing property owners a reasonable/economical use of their property. It is important to cherish and renovate historic properties, as they are assets to our town.
- The historical, architectural or cultural value of structure’s relationship to the surrounding area is a primary consideration.
- The compatibility of exterior design/materials/layout is looked at in the surrounding area.
- The scale and general size of the buildings in the surrounding area is used in decisions. Including roof types, facade openings, setbacks, etc.
- The overall setting, lighting, parking, fencing, driveways, signage, landscaping is noted to protect against the negative effects to the character of structures in the surrounding area.
- The removal of historic materials or alterations of features that characterize a property shall be avoided.
- Deteriorated historic features will try to be repaired rather than replaced. When it is not possible, replacement shall match the design and color where possible.
- Additions, accessory structures and new work shall be compatible with the existing size, features and details of the building.
- Skylights, solar panels, dormers, antennas, and like should be placed as not to detract from historic features. When possible they should be placed in the rear of the structure.
- Fencing is to be compatible and contribute to the surrounding area. Design, materials and height is to be consistent with the area.
- Recreation facilities are dependant on the degree of visibility and to be placed compatible to the surrounding area.
- Signs that are backlit, neon or flashing are prohibited. All signs will conform to the Town of Winchester sign ordinance. The design, placement, material and color will be compatible with the structure and surrounding area.
- Retention of stonewalls and healthy un-obstructive trees are encouraged to remain.
- Parking areas, driveways, walkways will be designed and of materials similar to the surrounding area.
- New construction should contribute to the surrounding area. New designs can add character and depth to the district. New construction does not have to match. Height, roof forms, materials, shapes of doors and windows, and façade elements. However they do not have to be original materials but the materials have to match. They should blend/complement with the surrounding area.
- A non historic structure in the historic district will not be held to these listed standards, but any exterior changes would be required to blend with the existing structure and not negatively affect surrounding historic structures.
- Any structure in the historic district that is not historic or a historic structure with many (previous) non historic alterations cannot be mandated to make historic changes to the property that are not part of the application. The commission may ask the applicant when renovating a non historic component of a structure to make it more historic but it cannot be a requirement.
- Demolition of a structure is not a preferable option, if replacement construction would be a better fit in the surrounding area. Per HDC Ordinance 5(a) which states; “Regulated Activities – It is unlawful for any person to construct, alter, repair, move or demolish any building, structure, or improvement which lies within the Historic Districts without first obtaining a Certificate Of Approval from the Historic District Commission”. If it is determined that it is not economically feasible to rehabilitate the building due to defects. Requests for demolition shall be based on structural integrity and building code defects and must include a report from a licensed architect or professional engineer, or contractor with appropriate level of experience that have to approved by both parties. The report shall include the costs of rehabilitation of the structure and evidence the existing building is incapable of producing a reasonable economic return on the investment or whereas the cost exceeds a reasonable end result value.
- Relocation of a structure is not an ideal solution, but it is considered an alternative to demolition. Relocation of a structure is preferred to another area in the Historic District.
It is obvious this was a rush job and catering to those who signed the petition to abolish the HDC and an attempt to keep the public from commenting at the meeting. We now have another board in town with no leadership or transparency. How is this good for the town?